Aug 08

Will we see a “Thank You, China” banner from the European and American attendants to the Olympics?

Written by bianxiangbianqiao on Friday, August 8th, 2008 at 3:48 pm
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The closing ceremony parade would be the most appropriate occasion for such expression of appreciation. Who will be the most likely among the spectators to display such affectionate banners, resident laowais or first time visitors?

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49 Responses to “Will we see a “Thank You, China” banner from the European and American attendants to the Olympics?”

  1. Adam Sweet Says:

    You might

  2. Nimrod Says:

    From the athletes, maybe. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… let the Games begin.

  3. vadaga Says:

    my money is on first time visitors. people who have lived in China longer have a more nuanced view of the situation and hence are less likely to make such a simplistic gesture.

  4. Charles Liu Says:

    Already have; just heard on NPR today. They ran a story about the 1936 “Nazi Olympics” story. I wonder why…

  5. Adam Sweet Says:

    I think Americans will. They are excited to be a part of it

  6. Wukailong Says:

    Was there a “Thank you, Greece” from American and European teams in 2004? Then it should be in Beijing too.

  7. Hemulen Says:

    Why should there be a “Thank you” from anyone? It was China that asked for this event and got it in the end, having boycotted several Olympics previously. It is an honor to host the Olympics, not an entitlement.

  8. MutantJedi Says:


    Grumpy? Missed your prunes this morning? 🙂
    A “Thank you” certainly is not out of line.

  9. yo Says:

    I second that lol

    I’ll say from us because we are known to over use “thank you” 🙂 or perhaps the Canadians because….well, they are Canadian…

  10. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    A “thank you” is well deserved. No previous Olympic host has made so many sacrifices as the Chinese to be a perfect host (or hostess). How many “backward” habits have we got rid of that were perfectly fine with us Chinese but could be perceived as “unsightly” to our international friends such as Hemulen? How many confusing Western customs have we adopted just to be accommodating? I am particularly puzzled by the new fashion rule that makes Beijing guys fully cover their belly buttons even on a hot and murky day. They can no longer roll up their shirts to their armpits for cooling, whereas women seem to be encouraged to keep the same anatomical feature completely exposed (I have seen it with my own eyes). The world owes the Chinese a big thank you for transforming themselves to “fit in” and accommodate.

  11. wuming - wumaodang Says:


    I second your call for gratitude to our Beijing 爷们儿 for what they have to put up with just to host this thing. Not letting them to drive into the city any time they choose to is one thing, but not allowing 大夏天里 光膀子 violate the fundamental human right of a civilized 北京人

  12. Hemulen Says:

    Me, grumpy? No, it was fun watching the parts of the opening ceremony that I saw. Especially the first part was impressive. Gratitude? Have any Chinese sports team at any Olympic Games ever sported a “Thank you” sign? I don’t think so. Arranging the Olympics is a privilege won in hard competition, not an entitlement. It’s an international event you qualify to organize, not a private party where you dictate the topic of conversation. China was invited to the first Olympics in 1896, but the imperial court didn’t even deign to respond to the invitation. The People’s Republic of China boycotted and politicized several Olympics for decades until it started attending regularly in 1980. If the games this year is a way of making up for that, fine. But saying “thank you”? Nope.

  13. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ bianxiangbianqiao,

    I agree about the belly button thing and shirt thing—it’s the summer!

  14. totochi Says:

    I think thank you’s from visiting countries would be a nice gesture but to say it’s deserved because of sacrifices China decided to make is a bit much. You don’t demand thanks from your guests.

    “How many “backward” habits have we got rid of that were perfectly fine with us Chinese but could be perceived as “unsightly” to our international friends…”

    If the habits were perfectly fine, then why get rid of them? Which foreign leader asked for Beijinger men’s belly buttons to be covered? I think we should take pride in our Chinese habits, regardless of what our international friends think, or at least what we think they think. Why bother going to Beijing if everyone speaks English and there’s no dogmeat to be found? May as well stay home and watch the Olympics on TV.

  15. bianxiangbianqiao Says:


    “You don’t demand thanks from your guests.”

    Wrong. You do expect thanks from your guests whom you dine and wine. You don’t demand thanks from your own children. Hosting social events is a means for social EXCHANGE, not charity or care-giving.

  16. JXie Says:

    A host can try his best to throw a great party, but you can never count on gracious guests…

    I imagine in America, Argentinians, Brazilians and Canadians, in Europe, Russians, Italians and Greeks, are more likely to follow what the proverbial mama taught. Argentina and Brazil often are more sympathetic to China’s position when there is a dispute between China and “the West”. Canadians are the refined, better educated and self-introspective version of Americans, unless hockey is involved. Italy and Greece both have their ancient histories and have been recently down, hence tend to be less snobby.

    公道自在人心. Let it be.

  17. JL Says:


    I don’t think Westerners ever told Chinese people to roll down their shirts, or to adopt any Western customs.
    I agree with totochi.
    Unless it it is established Olympic custom to thank the hosts, it seems a bit strange to expect people to treat China as something different.

  18. my_mother Says:

    I to agree with Totochi that no thanks are necessary.

    When you have been a good host, the ultimate expression of gratitude is the positive impressions that your guests will convey to their friends and relatives back home. Yeah, that’s what’s going to come back in spades.

  19. totochi Says:

    Wow, I read the title/content of your post again and you’re expecting visitors, not athletes or teams, to hang a banner thanking China?! I thought the Chinese government banned all banners in the stadium.

    “You do expect thanks from your guests whom you dine and wine.”
    This is a joke, right? Did the Chinese government pick up the tab for spectators? If the CCP paid for my airfare, hotel, food, taxi, and Olympics tickets, then a great big thanks is in order. As a tourist paying my own way and deprived of experiencing authentic Beijing (not the sterilized version that the government wants me to see), not sure if I really need to thank anyone. I may if I enjoyed the trip but definitely don’t feel obligated. I’ve been to a few Laker games at Staple Center. Never did I feel the need to whip out a banner thanking Jerry Buss at the end of the game.

    “The world owes the Chinese a big thank you for transforming themselves to “fit in” and accommodate.”
    Wrong. If you think you’re owed something for accomodating guests, then you’d better check your motivations. I think visitors, even laowai, can distinguish between genuine hospitality, showing off, and face-saving gestures.

  20. MutantJedi Says:


    Sure, no thanks are necessary, but my mother taught me that good manners was to thank your host. (sorry… couldn’t resist the ‘my mother’ thing when talking to my_mother)

    It’s the graciousness of the guest to a good host rather than the history of the host, Hemulen. It wouldn’t matter if this was the first games China participated in, a good guest will thank his host. It doesn’t have to be banners or stuff like that, but something.

  21. my_mother Says:


    I appreciate the humor 🙂

    yeah, it is proper for the guests to thanks the host. But that’s incumbent on the guests.

    At the same it is kinda poor manners for the host to demand it. Hope your mother (not me) taught that too 🙂

    So, if would nice if at the end there is a “Thank you, China” without solicitation. If would definitely make my day, if that turn out to be the case. But I won’t be heart broken if there isn’t.

  22. Ted Says:

    If there was a “thanks Greece” (I don’t know) perhaps it was for first holding the Olympics a few thousand years ago.

    It’s disappointing to see so much griping after such a great opening ceremony. If you don’t want to accommodate any guests then don’t invite them. Anyone who asks for a thank you is someone who wants to be let-down.

    If you are unhappy your government asks you to change your behavior then you should tell your government, not the guests.

    There is enough competition in the Olympics do we really need to add “best thank you banner” as a Medal category?

  23. Henry Says:

    Personally, I have always appreciated that mainland Chinese are typically “down to earth” in that they feel free to roll up their undershirts when they’re hot. I mean, why not? I don’t know how many westerners would really feel offended by seeing that. However, some westerners new to China might have gotten a bad impression of China from that so the rule is understandable.

    I don’t know how I feel about a thank you banner. It seems a bit cloying. However, a lot of hard work from many people went into this Olympics, and a show of appreciation is certainly in order.

  24. Chops Says:

    Full text of speech by IOC President Rogge at Beijing Olympics opening ceremony

    “For a long time, China has dreamed of opening its doors and inviting the world’s athletes to Beijing for the Olympic Games. Tonight that dream comes true. Congratulations, Beijing.

    You have chosen as the theme of these Games “One World, One Dream”. That is what we are tonight.

    As we bring the Olympic dream to life, our warm thanks go to the Beijing Organizing Committee for its tireless work. Our special thanks also go to the thousands of gracious volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible.

    Beijing, you are a host to the present and a gateway to the future. Thank you.”

  25. S.K. Cheung Says:

    As with many posts on this site lately, this one deserves a solid “let’s wait and see”, and we’ll all find out soon enough.
    Thanking the hosts is the polite thing to do. However, I don’t think it’s owed to them, nor should the hosts go around expecting same. It seems to me China has as much to gain by “educating” Chinese (to burgeon her reputation abroad as a land of refined people) as foreigners do of having a reduced likelihood of culture shock. So to suggest that all these “rules” are for the sole benefit of foreigners seems naive.
    When I host a dinner party, I’m in a habit for thanking those who come. Maybe that’s also something worthy of speculation…nah, let’s just wait and see.

  26. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    After watching the opening ceremony, I think you guys are right and I was wrong. The Expectation of a “thank you” banner is based on a simplistic perception of the event. It is really hard to say who should be thanked and what for. It had been hard for me to take the whole thing seriously; it sounded and looked like some complicated pranks. It had felt like somebody was pulling my leg and every time I said something about the Olympics I was pulling somebody’s leg too, until the opening ceremony. Still feeling disoriented, but the seriousness of the event is sinking in.

  27. maxiewawa Says:

    Dear bianxiangbianqiao.

    On behalf of all the residents of my native Sydney, I say up yours. You think you’re special in having your lives changed because of the Olympics? Get real. By the way, I’m still waiting for my thank you note from the Chinese delegation to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, is it in the mail?

    And I think that thanking the Chinese for not exposing their bellies is just stupid. The most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard. Stopping people from keeping cool? You’re proud of that? Exposing one’s sweaty back to keep body temp from rising is a great idea, one that I have adopted from my Chinese hosts. It should be the fifth of China’s “Four Great Inventions”, they should have included it in the opening ceremony.

  28. Bobthebuilder Says:

    I cannot believe how insular, condescending, arrogant, petty, cheap and generally mean-spirited the original poster is.

  29. Bobthebuilder Says:

    I assuming this post was a joke, right?

  30. wuming - wumaodang Says:

    Dear Maxiewawa

    Bare belly was considered for the 4 great inventions of China. But it was finally decided that only those inventions that had helped the West to subjugate other nations qualified. For example, with the help of gun-powder and compass, your more intelligent ancestors were able to reach and conquer Australia, so these two were in. On the other hand, bare belly is at most a borderline case, eventually was beaten out by movable printing. I, for one, regret the decision

  31. Michelle Says:

    There is no lack of bare belly in Beijing this summer… the regulations against it haven’t changed much. That’s ok, it’s quaint and Beijing is hot. Shall I thank Beijingers for ignoring the rule? I wonder what Singaporeans would think of this thread, I believe the LKY gov’t made it a priority to stop spitting and such early on and was quite successful in achieving the goal…. I believe that new world governments / people had to go through the same process more or less to seem ‘civilised’ to europeans…

  32. Michelle Says:

    That said, i’m sad to hear that there was a campaign to eradicate Kai Dang Ku for babies – To encourage parents to use diapers when this method works so well, well… it’s too bad.

  33. BMY Says:

    I think nobody owns the other a ” thank you.”

    But a “thank you for coming ” or a “thanking you for organizing” would be nice. Japanese team did it while Zhang and Wang didn’t or John and James didn’t.

    Chinese teams should do that every time in the future to thanks the hosting country.

    I think maxiewawa didn’t pick up that BXBQ was not focusing on “Bare belly”. You live in Beijing and know many Chinese people do sacrifice a lot for the games. (I am not demanding a “thank you” and I just found interesting that lot of people don’t see other people’s efforts)

    It’s also interesting to know that maxiewawa speaks on behalf of all the residents of Sydney .

  34. Michelle Says:

    Just re-read the title. I guess only American and European guests should thank their hosts at a dinner party. … Rubbish.

  35. BMY Says:


    I totally with you re: the Kai Dang Ku which is more healthier for babies and better for this planet than disapers. Kai Dang Ku is cute too.

  36. BMY Says:


    I don’t think it’s very fair to compare today’s China and the China who boycotted Olympics decades ago. You know, there is a lot has changed.(please don’t bring up”some Chinese don’t forget the past as well”. you are more open minded than that)

  37. Michelle Says:

    @BMY – that’s exactly what i said – read again carefully: I’m sad to hear that there was a campaign to eradicate Kai Dang Ku for babies – To encourage parents to use diapers when this method (Kaidangku)works so well, well… it’s too bad.

  38. kevinnolongerinpudong Says:

    This is the logic of having “guests” in China! While showering you with chickens feet and pigs’ intestines, the entire purpose of the fancy dinner is for you to express your gratitude to your host to make her or most probably him feel better. Thus helping us understand why, when you explain that you don’t particularly like pigs’ intestines, even though, yes, you’ve tried them before, you become a “bad host.” It seems sad to say that a simplistic face-based analysis could explain this all, but yes, it’s unfortunately really that simple. The gov. did not host the Olympics for any altruistic purposes, but rather in hopes of an under-the-table handjob from thankful “whities” (laowai).

  39. kevinnolongerinpudong Says:

    Sorry “bad host” should be “bad guest.”

  40. Pete Briquette Says:

    Presumably, if the athletes feel suitably moved by the undeniable hospitality of the Chinese people, then yes, they will raise banners to express their deep appreciation for the hospitality of their hosts.

    Unless banners are banned; in which case, they won’t.

    No matter: as the Olympics teaches, and as I am sure they know, it’s hard to win.

  41. Michelle Says:


    Apologies to you! – it seems that I have misunderstood you and responded rather rudely! – maybe its because i wore nappys as a baby 😛 . (This is a bit late, think i was traveling when i wrote that, sorry again!).

  42. Wukailong Says:

    Diapers are disgusting and need to be processed, and might be of environmental concern… But having kaidangku and peeing outside (and perhaps doing the other thing as well) is not very good for cleanliness. So what is the best solution?

  43. FOARP Says:

    @Wukailong – Reusable napies – the way everyone did it before they brought in disposables.

  44. Wukailong Says:

    They’re easy to clean, I hope.. 🙂

  45. FOARP Says:

    @Wukailong – My sister uses them with her little daughter, they’re machine washable, save on cost and don’t harm the environment as much as disposables – but each to his own!

  46. Hemulen Says:


    I do think it is legitimate to bring up China’s past boycotts of the Olympics. When China’s bid for the Olympics war brought up, it was argued that China has wished for the Olympics for a century. Well, then I think it is not out of place to bring up the history of that.

    re Kaidangku

    I don’t understand why it has to be “either or”. Kaidangku works great at home. It gives kids valuable potty training and parents clean up after their kids when they’re at home. In public places, however, it doesn’t work so well, as long as most Chinese don’t know how to clean up after themselves when they make a mess away from home. I know that sounds terrible, bit I don’t know how many times I have seen parents letting their kids pee in buses and even on the rail in the subway. I would opt for the middle way.

  47. Wukailong Says:

    @hemulen: The saying that “China has wished for the Olympics for a century” seems to me like one of these slogans people put up without thinking. Most Chinese people probably didn’t know about it a century ago (it was very much centered in Europe), and during the Mao era they had other things to worry about. “The last 20 years” is probably a more correct assessment.

    This reminds me of 1989, when all the changes happened in Eastern Europe. A lot of people said about Bulgaria, for example, that they hadn’t had democracy for “50 years.” Well, they never had, until the 1990s. It was a similar case of slogan-based thinking.

  48. CLC Says:


      I think the slogan actually is “China has wished for hosting the Olympics for a century.” As for participation, ROC sent an anthlete to the 1932 Summer Olympics in San Francisco.and the PRC returned in 1984 in the same city.


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